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Top Areas Where Proper Coating Really Matters in Food and Beverage Facilities

Posted Feb 21, 2022 by Dave Scaturro

 Top Areas Where Proper Coating Really Matters in Food and Beverage Facilities

In a food and beverage facility, decay of any kind in areas where industrial protective coating applications are found can lead to problems in the form of compliance write ups, fines, shutdowns or worse yet, product contamination leading to recalls. It’s inevitable that over time coatings will deteriorate, either gradually or quickly, depending on the facility’s age, chemical exposure, frequent wash downs, general use and other factors. The good news is that facilities who are proactive in identifying areas of potential coating deficiencies, implementing preventive control plans, and committing to making repairs, will be ahead of the game when it comes to compliance—while also enhancing their food safety.

Alleviating compliance concerns related to coatings applications starts with identifying all areas where industrial protective coatings are used. Generally, these include wet and dry processing areas, chemical storage rooms, facility floors and walls, mechanical equipment rooms, employee welfare areas, water and wastewater treatment assets, warehouses, loading docks, direct food contact storage silos and more.

To effectively identify and address all areas where coatings are present, a facility should perform periodic site evaluations prior to official U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and third-party audits. Here’s a quick look at the top 10 areas of concern a certified coatings professional will watch for during a comprehensive facility evaluation:

  1. Peeling paint and flaking rust: A facility won’t pass inspection when peeling paint and rust are evident, so it’s important to correct these deficiencies as they arise. Take note of all obvious areas as well any early signs of corrosion, so facility managers can address them before they become compliance issues. Alpine Painting can conduct site evaluations to identify the not so obvious areas. All identified surfaces will then be properly prepped and recoated to eliminate contamination concerns.
  2. Porous surfaces: Bacteria can thrive in the smallest spaces, and the holes and voids found in porous surfaces, such as uncoated concrete floors and walls, can allow bacteria to proliferate. These areas should be coated as soon as possible to mitigate bacteria growth potential.
  3. Areas with frequent wash downs: Protective coatings used in any area of a facility that experiences frequent wash downs are subject to accelerated wear. In a meat processing facility, for example, harsh chemicals and heavy water use can wreak havoc on coatings. Alpine Painting can recommend the most appropriate systems for these areas based on the anticipated frequency of wash downs as well as the types of cleaning chemicals used.
  4. Proper slope-to-drains: In areas subject to frequent wash downs, proper slope-to-drains are critical to reduce ponding water, slip/fall hazards and bacteria harborage points. Building flooring up along walls and creating a proper slope helps to encourage draining following wash downs to eliminate these risks.
  5. Trench drains: Commonly used in a variety of food and beverage facilities, trench drains contain a lot of surface area where water and microbes can become trapped, encouraging bacteria to proliferate. Converting these trench-style drains to box drains greatly reduces that surface area and therefore the contamination potential.
  6. Floor-to-wall transition zones: These areas are common harborage points for bacteria, as the typical 90-degree transition can trap bacteria and water, creating the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Incorporating a cove base here can provide seamless transitions from floors to walls to eliminate this harborage point. A cove base also has the added benefit of protecting walls from damage from wheeled carts by preventing wheels and cart edges from contacting walls.
  7. Cracks and peeling in floors: Voids in flooring are another common harborage point for bacteria, as moisture and microbes can easily become trapped there. In fact, some such areas may never dry completely, creating an ideal environment for bacteria propagation. Any cracks or voids should be patched prior to inspections or immediately after receiving a compliance writeup.
  8. Damage to insulated metal panel (IMP) wall systems: Damage to IMP walls inside walk-in coolers, refrigerated warehouses and insulated buildings can enable bacteria to penetrate the insulative layer between the panel’s exterior surfaces. Using impact- and chemical-resistant coatings systems in these areas can help prevent damage that leads to this scenario or restores panels to their original condition.
  9. Direct food-contact surfaces: Facilities must follow specific guidelines anywhere food will be in direct contact with surfaces, such as in grain elevators and storage silos. Experts at Alpine Painting, for example, can ensure that specifications for bakeries and grain facilities include FDA 21 CFR 175.300-compliant coatings for direct food contact.
  10. Improper coating selections for the environment: Choosing the wrong coating for an environment can create long-term maintenance concerns and raise life-cycle costs. For example, in environments that experience frequent wash downs and thermal cycling, many facilities make the mistake of using epoxy flooring technologies. While certainly viable for other areas, epoxy flooring systems are prone to cracking and flaking when exposed to thermal cycling. We recommend using a urethane concrete-based system instead. This type of system will expand and contract with the concrete substrate below, reducing cracking potential as well as the opportunity for bacteria to grow under loose coatings.

Food and beverage processing businesses would be well served to capitalize on Alpine Painting’s vast experience coating and painting such facilities. Alpine Painting has over 40 years of working with food and beverage plants and has extensive knowledge of the industry’s strict food service regulations and standards. Reach out to us today for a risk free consultation. You can reach us online at www.alpinepainting.com, or by phone at (866) 596-0349.

Dave Scaturro
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Call Dave Scaturro, Commercial Painting Specialist, at (973) 279-3200 x224 or use our online application.

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